Wot I Think: Endless Space 2

I can imagine the intervention now, family and friends sitting around me in a circle. “Fraser, we all care about you. You’re in a safe space. But you’ve got to stop falling in love with 4X games. It’s bad for your health.” I’d walk straight out of the room, of course. My new beau is Endless Space 2 [official site], and its got its hooks in me deep. Like its predecessor – definitely Endless Legend and not the first Endless Space – it’s a bold attack on the more staid elements of the 4X multiverse, full of character, weirdness and ambition.

Amplitude have crafted a game that oozes character and charm out of every pore. With its faction-specific soundtrack, lavish art and light RPG-like quests, it’s hard not to fall for it. Character doesn’t just mean flavour, either. Sure, Endless Space 2 is full of that, but what’s most compelling is the way in which it intersects with the mechanics, elevating them both.

Take the factions, for instance. The business-savvy Lumeris colonise worlds by paying private companies to do all the work. No colony ships needed. The arboreal Unfallen, on the other hand, link star systems together with cosmic tendrils, instantly colonising a world once the vines take root. Each of the Xs is informed by the history and abilities of the factions. Even on the same type of map, with the same opponents, playing as the the extradimensional Riftborn or the ravenous Cravers feels like a fundamentally different experience.

Factions aren’t just defined by their unique techs and fancy powers, however. They set the tone and inspire certain types of playstyles, but the politics system has just as big an impact. It’s perhaps the biggest hook that sets Endless Space 2 apart from Endless Legend, and its influence permeates throughout the entire game.

Each empire contains six potential political parties vying for power. How much control they have, and indeed if they they exist at all, is determined by the species living under your yoke. All of them have a political ideology they are most closely affiliated with, and over time they’ll help parties that espouse the ideals they dig. Political events, wars, building projects and other actions can also drum up more support for them.

And that’s why, playing as the largely pacifist Lumeris, I found myself dealing with a government run by the militarists. Through migration and swallowing up minor civilisations, I had a fair number of aliens who were a wee bit militant living in my empire, and I’d gotten myself into a nasty war, forcing me to construct lots of ships and military buildings, which in turn bolstered the party. Come the election, they dominated and the laws changed. Now I could declare war without any cost, get more manpower and buy cheaper ships. My people loved it. Who doesn’t love a warmonger?

With the end of the war and another election, things went back to normal, but the militarists remained a powerful party, allowing me to continue to pass aggressive laws even though my empire had reverted back to a pacifist government. These laws provide huge bonuses, though they cost a great deal of the influence resource to maintain. It’s a risk to rely too heavily on them, but it’s also possible to construct your empire in such a way that it churns out influence through buildings and governors. This is also another way for you to expand, assimilating other species and thrusting out your borders.

It’s a great example of how everything feels interconnected. Migration, expansion, war, politics and construction aren’t these discrete systems – they’re part of a single, huge machine. And via the elegant UI that’s equal parts a work of art and a legible interface, consuming all of this data is easier than expected. In 4X games, aesthetics are often flung aside in the hyperspeed wake of practical concerns, but not so in Endless Space 2.

Things become a bit more complicated when dealing with opponents, though. See, every faction is playing by different rules. This was a problem in Endless Legend, too, but it’s exacerbated here by the politics system. It’s incredibly hard to understand what the capabilities of another empire actually are.

I realised how little I knew what was going on outside my borders when the nomadic Vodyani started invading one of my systems during a cold war. Normally that’s not possible unless war has been formally declared, but there they were, slaughtering my peaceful citizens. I’m pretty sure it’s not a Vodyani-specific trait, so maybe it’s a special militarist law? I don’t know! But it made our diplomatic status meaningless and left me wondering how I could really plan for an event like that. I’ve never wanted an espionage system so much.

The Vodyani invasion is something I wanted to mention because war in general has been a mixed bag thanks to a rather serious bug. I’ve been mucking around in some of the chillest galaxies in the universe, where wars only kick off when I’m the aggressor. The latest pre-release patch does, thankfully, fix this rather major issue, along with enhancing the game’s diplomacy. Now the various empires make logical – if not entirely reasonable – demands, and when they don’t get their way, war becomes increasingly likely. It might be out of fear over aggressive expansion, jealously over a wealth disparity, or simply due to border conflicts. So the galaxy is now a more lively, reactive place.

I’m still not all that enthusiastic about getting into fights, however. It’s not all bad, mind. Amplitude have hit the sweet spot between convenience and letting you customise your ships, and there’s zero faff when it comes to invasions, which are traditionally rich in faff, but actual combat is just a bit dull. You pick a battle plan and then everything else is automated. It seems like a huge waste, given how much effort has clearly gone into rendering the space scraps. Maybe I’m being a bit hard on it? Automated battles are pretty common in 4X games, but we’ve already seen Amplitude buck this trend twice with the card-based system of Endless Space and the turn-based tactical brawls of Endless Legend. This is a step backwards.

Even though wars now kick off with greater frequency, I still find myself drawn towards more subtle conflicts, travelling down less destructive paths of conquest. Economic domination is historically one of the duller victory paths, but the trade and market mechanics in Endless Space 2 are unexpectedly engaging and elaborate.

First off, you’ve got a two-part trade system. You can set up trading companies and then subsidiaries in another system, and ships will chart a course along that hyperspace route, trading and bartering, racking up cash and luxury items. The longer the route, the more you get. And these companies can be invested in, at a high cost, enhancing them further. The danger is that other factions just need to set up a blockade in any part of the chain, and all that cash is gone.

The second part is the market where you can buy and sell goods directly, and this is where things get interesting because there’s a proper economic sim working under the hood. The value of goods change not just because of a surplus or more demand, but due to outside forces. This even goes beyond the market, affecting the price of ships. During an extended period of galactic peace, ships are cheaper, for instance. I have some balance concerns, however, because right now it’s a little too easy to get incredibly rich, though the re-emergence of war creates an additional wrinkle that makes it a little harder to maintain Scrooge McDuck levels of wealth.

Endless Space 2 also effortlessly solves one of my biggest 4X pet peeves, something that Firaxis took years to figure out with Civilization. At no point does it feel like you’re locked into a victory path. Or any path, really.

During my attempt at economic conquest as the Riftborn (admittedly not the coolest of victory paths for a race of geometric, extradimensional aliens who can drop singularities on worlds and manipulate time), I realised that I was having a lot more fun working my way through the gargantuan tech tree. It was a late-game realisation and I’d resigned myself to never living out my nerdy dreams. But, as it turns out, overhauling an empire isn’t all that difficult. Planetary specialisations, new laws, buildings that gobble up currency and spew out research points – if you can’t use one of them, you can probably use something else.

The risk is that this makes specialisation meaningless because you can just switch. But it takes time and effort, and there’s a good chance you’ll be playing catch up with other empires who have stuck with their focus throughout the game. There are ways to close the gap though, and simply having the option to make massive late-game changes is incredibly welcome. Endless Space 2 is full of stuff like this, elements big and small that tackle problems 4X games have been grappling with for a long time.

There’s an abundance of map modes and filters, a search bar for research, even a notification that pops up suggesting what tech you should go for when you’ve just finished a project. ‘How can managing a sprawling, complex space empire be a bit less of a pain in the arse?’ seems to be a question the developers have asked themselves a lot, and the result is a user-friendly experience.

I’m relieved that Amplitude have managed to do some last-minute fixes. It saves me from having to tell you to give it a miss for the time being, even though I’m besotted with it. Instead I get to happily recommend it. From the interface to economics, it sports some of the best systems I’ve seen in a 4X game, and like Endless Legend, it’s simultaneously confident and experimental, finding new ways to spice up a genre that can too often be bland.

Endless Space 2 leaves early access tomorrow today (surprise!) and is available on Windows for £35/40€/$40 via Steam. This review was based on a review build provided by the developers.

From this site

54 Comments

  1. Tyrmot says:

    Sounds good! Been re-playing Endless Legend in prep for this and it really is outstanding good 4X. Far better than Civ, which I tried again and just couldn’t get into.. Glad to hear this inherits some of the best features.

  2. foszae says:

    Amplitude’s franchises are definitely my go-to 4x games at this point. There is simply no-one else who hits the sweet spot like they do. Honestly, they could release a game called Endless Trip to the Grocery Store and i’d prolly sink 600 hours into it.

  3. Someoldguy says:

    I’ve never been as fond of Amplitude’s games as others have been. Both Endless Space and Endless Legends fell flat, for different reasons. Particularly Endless Space with its small galaxy, alien leaders for your xenophobic empire that hadn’t met another species yet and hands off combat. If this one has even less hands-on combat then my hands are off the game.

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      Yeah, I picked up both Endless Legend and Endless Space after hearing them praised over and over by smart folks like RPS, but for reasons I’ve never been able to really quantify I bounced off them both really hard. Just could not get into a state with either of them where they felt engaging enough to grab my attention and hold it. The whole experience was a big disappointment.

      Note that I’m not saying these are bad games, since, as noted above, lots of smart people whose opinions I respect absolutely love them. I’m just saying that I can’t understand why those people love them, since despite multiple attempts I just could not get into them.

      It’s frustrating — I feel like there’s something there that I just somehow lack the ability to see. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a good 4X or a complex strategy game; I’ve racked up way too many pleasant hours in various Civ and Paradox games for that to be the case. It’s just that, with these particular games, I need some unknown X-factor somewhere that is missing.

      • dylan says:

        Completely agree. I’ve tried multiple times to “get into” Endless Legend and see what all the fuss is about. But, much like The Witcher 3, it’s something I just bounce off of despite the nearly universal praise.

        Losing the cards-based battle system from Endless Space 1 is the final nail, as far as I’m concerned. I quite liked those battles. I’ll stick to Stellaris.

    • Neutrino says:

      Same for me, and I can tell you exactly why I didn’t get on with Endless Legend. Great graphics, awesome sound, brilliant lore, not bad combat (albeit somewhat obscure).

      I played for first game for over 120 turns, and literally nothing happened. I entered into a border agreement with one neighbour (clicked a button in a dialog), my other neighbour was the Cultists who I think basically just fight everyone, so had a few skirmishes with them.

      After 120 turns of exploring the map, finding a few bits of treasure, doing a few simple quests, researching tech, building structures, collecting pearls, I got bored. After playing for about 8 hours or so literally nothing of any consequence had happened.

      • toshiro says:

        Yup, that’s it. Should one ramp up the difficulty? Lovers of the game, feel free to elaborate what we’re missing!

        • Vacuity729 says:

          For what it’s worth, I fully understand finding Endless Space (1) terribly dry and flavourless. I like it because of how it threw out so much of what at the time seemed to be a priori design for a 4X game. I’ve played maybe three full games and enjoyed my time with it, but I wouldn’t mark it as particularly amazing.

          Endless Legend I love though, and curiously the “nothing much happened” is exactly what I found in my one and only game of Civ 5. I founded some cities over time, beat up a few barbarians, met my neighbours and.. eventually one of my neighbours tried to attack, rather hopelessly. By that time I was so bored that I refused his pleas for peace and stomped him a bit more thoroughly just as something to do. Eventually though, there wasn’t much left of him to stomp and I was left clicking build queues and research targets endlessly until I won.

          When I started Endless Legend, I did find the resources and technologies a bit hard to get my head round. I know well enough what oil is and roughly what it is useful for in a game like Civ, but what is Glassteel? What is it useful for? Do I want it more than Titanium? Do I want both? Do I really need it at all? Eventually you work it out (crucial resource; lots of things; equally; definitely, and definitely are the respective answers) but that was a little offputting at the beginning.

          I find the heroes and quests in Endless legend to be a massive hook by comparison, along with the interest of playing with/against the very distinct factions. If you pick a more off the wall faction to play as, such as the cultists (and maybe pick a higher difficulty level), then I dare say you’ll find the experience somewhat more unique. No guarantees you’ll enjoy it, of course, but I do believe it’s worth a second try.

          • toshiro says:

            That was a very informative answer thank you. I think what happened to me was that, due to being a beginner at the game, chose a low difficulty level. It is often tempting to do so, I find, but the consequence of this is my endless legend game was that; after being initially fascinated with the build order etc., I found that I didn’t have to care at all and just brute force everything on the map and I won. That left a bad taste in my mouth.

            But I see now that playing on a higher diff. is better. I expect to lose the first games, if I win them I get annoyed, I just realized.

          • Vacuity729 says:

            You’re most welcome. I understand the temptation to play at a lower difficulty level when you first try, but if you’ve got experience with other 4X games and genuinely expect a challenge, then you should probably start at the mid-level difficulty, at least! And that’s probably true of any 4X title you try.
            I’m quite content winning on my first try at a 4X game as long as things happen on the way there.

  4. TheManfromAntarctica says:

    How does it compare with the popular Stellaris?
    I bought the first Endless Space a couple of months ago when it was on sale for £1.00 (!) but asked for a refund 10 minutes into the tutorial because it felt like working with spreadsheets. All these space 4X games look the same to me, what sets them apart from each other?

    • causticnl says:

      complaining about a £1.00 game, hilarious.

      • TheManfromAntarctica says:

        I saw the game didn’t do for me, and since there are hardly any demos nowadays I asked for my money back. Got a problem?

        • ThinkMcFlyThink says:

          I don’t, but I do think it is legitimately humorous that you were unwilling to give such an astoundingly discounted game more than a 10 minute trial, which could not have taken you even out of the tutorial. Your money, your choice, I do find it humorous.

          Endless Space similar to other 4X games, but it’s much closer to Civ5/6 than GalVic 2/3 in the spreadsheet category.

      • rochrist says:

        Not just complaining about but asking for a refund for a £1.00 game?
        Priceless!

    • ramirezfm says:

      4x games = working-with-spreadsheets games. What sets them apart are the numbers in the cells and the formulas, and sometimes the coloring. It’s really awesome. That’s why I hate/love them. Every 4x game played is at least 100hrs lost :(

      Might I venture a guess that these games are just not for you?

      • TheManfromAntarctica says:

        Yes and no. I’ve poured 900+ hours in Civ V and I love it to death, but when I look at spacefaring 4X games like Endless Space, Stellaris, Galactic Civilizations and the like they all look the same to me (anonymous-looking planets that look like coloured dots spread on a vast black, even more anonymous background), so I’d like to know more about the differences that set them apart from each other.
        So far with its (at least, perceived) humour and its colour Stellaris looks like the most appealing to me.

        • Doctor K says:

          Stellaris may be the best entry point for you then. There’s a good amount of lore hidden in there and the mechanics are about as simple as they can get in a space 4x. I’m another big fan of Civ who had to put some effort into getting into the space 4x genre.

          Otherwise, if you aren’t feeling adventurous and somehow missed it, Alpha Centari. Alpha Centari is it’s own argument.

        • Butler says:

          If you sunk that many hours into Civ V, you owe it to yourself to give Endless Legend a shot if nothing else.

          The first time I played it, it was for about 20mins, then I didn’t touch it for about 18 months.

          When I finally went back and gave it its due… well, Steam now says 159 hours, and it’s one of my favourite games of all time.

          • TheManfromAntarctica says:

            It’s in my wishlist, when I find it on sale I’ll give it a try.

    • Corwin71 says:

      Endless Space 2 (and Endless Legend before it) are a couple of the least spreadsheet-ish 4x games in existence. Stellaris is much more so, especially after you get past the early stages of the game when you’re investigating anomalies. After a while, it’s just managing resources, building ships and such. Endless Space 2 has a tremendous amount of atmosphere, from the narrative that runs through it for each faction to the descriptions of resources, minor factions, etc. I’m a role-playing game and strategy game player, and very few 4x games scratch both itches simulataneously, but this one does.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      The first Endless Space was indeed 90% numbers, but thankfully Amplitude learned from it and Endless Legend was an entirely different beast. I expect the same is true here.

      • C0llic says:

        Endless Space was bone dry. It’s UI and some of the ideas were impressive, but the game itself.. not so much. EL was fantastic, so I’m sure this one is too. Amplitude’s track record is quite amazing at this point.

    • Remonstrance says:

      ES1 was Amplitude’s first game, and while it did a marvelous job with many things, I can understand if it’s not for everyone. That said, ES2’s been a massive improvement. I’ve been dipping in and out during early access, and I’ve found a lot to love.

      But to compare it to Stellaris, it’s a much more focused experience. While Stellaris is more kitchen sink sci-fi, ES2 has an established universe. You won’t be playing as a species entirely your own, but the factions offered have more gameplay depth and variation – for example, you’ve got a species that leeches life force from others to make new pops, a species that slowly wrecks every planet they touch, and so on.

      This focus extends to ships (which operate a little differently for everybody), population growth, unique techs, expansion, and more. There’s even a event chain for each faction (which appears to branch), adding story and important gameplay bonuses.

      Likewise, ES2 has a little more depth to its playstyles. Like it says above, being an economic power relies on establishing and maintaining trade routes, while military supremacy requires more than throwing your deathstack around. Politics allow for special laws (kinda like a stronger version of Edicts), which have far greater effects than simply determining who’s happy.

      Both emphasize exploration. Like Stellaris, ES2 can trigger Events by exploring the galaxy. And it *sounds* like ES2 has something akin to a Crisis, but I’m gonna avoid digging into that so I can enter fresh. Probably won’t be on the same scale as having the Unbidden on your doorstep.

      Both have steep learning curves, but ES2 seems to do a better job with the tutorials.

      So, if you’re looking to play *precisely* what you want in a glorious sandbox, Stellaris is the better fit. But if you’re looking for something more focused, try ES2.

      (I should also note that ES2 lets you tweak your faction – but not nearly to the extent of Stellaris).

    • vast_anusse103 says:

      Endspac 2 is better than Stella. Stella got boring for me in the three campaigns I did. Endspac2 isn’t getting boring.

  5. Heavenfall says:

    What I like about the Endless games are that they aren’t afraid to throw in a few extra mechanics later in the game. Just when things would start to feel a bit stale in other 4Xs, Endless throws a curve ball that allows you to look at the game differently.

  6. MikhailG says:

    automated combat being the only option is a bonus to me. Even in the great HOM&M3 there were points were repeated battles just get tedious and Id resort to auto resolving them even if it costs me a few more men. in 4X’s in general I would play around with a combat system until I figure it out/find the optimal way, and then resort to auto resolve cause 4X’s consume weeks of my life as it is I don’t need to prolong them for another 500 hours.

    • Canadave says:

      I think one of the reasons I didn’t play more of Endless Legend was the tactical combat, actually. It’s very good, but it makes wars significantly more time-consuming, and I can’t bring myself to autoresolve because I hate to lose units that way.

      • Premium User Badge

        magnificent octopus says:

        Me too. I have twice the hours in Endless Space that I do in Endless Legends, simply because I quit every Endless Legends game once combat become an annoyance. I could never bring myself to auto-resolve, in case the computer screwed it up. I recognise Endless Legends was, in every other way, the better game, so I’m looking forward to this.

    • aircool says:

      I often used the auto-combat in Endless Legend for battles that I’d be highly likely to win.

      However, the battle with the Sea Beast was an epic struggle of several fleets fighting the bastard over several turns.

      • Vacuity729 says:

        The Sea Beast? Gah! What a nightmare that thing is! It always seems to like hanging around at bottlenecks in the waterways at the very north or south in my games, thus making the battle area a disaster-zone with its area attacks. No space to retreat, no space to advance, except via submersibles which… some of the heads are particularly adept at chewing up, and my whole fleet bunched up under AOE attacks.

  7. Asokn says:

    So, I’m someone who has loved 4X games for years but recently fell out with them; I found the latest Civ to be ruined by arbitrary AI and I played a lot of Endless Legend before I found it to be strangely dull and lifeless, although very pretty.

    Should I give this game a try? It sounds like the AI is more interactive and the internal politics system sounds like it would give the game some real life.

    • Fraser Brown says:

      The politics system is really lively, and it’s very hands-on. You can manipulate elections and swallow up minor civs based on their politics. Diplomacy also feels a lot more reactive. I loved Endless Legend, but there does seem to be a lot more going on in ES2.

    • enjay says:

      I think you should give a try to ES2. I havent played ES2 1.0 (release) yet, only in Early Access and I have to say that you will be surprised how good AI is (compared to CIV 5 and 6). And a change of game difficulty makes real change and challenges you!
      And political system and parties? Oh my good, that gives another level to the game! I personaly hate “green” parties (in a real life) and when they took the rule in my United Empires?! I was so pissed :D :D

  8. Premium User Badge

    Seerinox says:

    Amplitude has launched the game one day ahead of schedule! Here’s the official announcement and patch notes:

    link to steamcommunity.com

  9. Didero says:

    This sounds pretty interesting!
    Since this review mainly mentions Endless Legend, which I haven’t played, how does it compare to Endless Space 1?

    • Corwin71 says:

      Factions feel and play more differently from each other and there are narrative elements (a quest line for each faction, and quests for minor factions and other things.) There are many other differences of course, like the political system which is new for the series as a whole, but the biggest differences for me are the ones above. I could never get hooked on ES1 because it was, for me, overly bland and samey, and I’ve had no such trouble with either ES2 or Endless Legend, which are full of life and variety.

  10. Troubletcat says:

    I loved Endless Space and really did not care for Endless Legend at all. At all.

    So the opposite stance the reviewer takes in the opening paragraphs.

    Will I like Endless Space 2?

    • Darloth says:

      Maybe.

      It has lots of elements inherited from both of them. For a while the tech tree looked like Endless Legend, but now it’s much closer to ES1, with a few branching either-or choices as you climb each quadrant.

      There’s still a lot of the flavor and quests and influence uses from Legend, which I personally believe is a very good thing, but the combat is much closer to Endless Space (except you pre-choose a single ‘card’ strategy before battle begins, basically)

      Given you liked one and didn’t like the other, I’d suggest you’d probably have to try it to know for sure.

  11. cristoflanga says:

    I couldn’t really get into Endless Legend, for whatever reason, even though I generally liked what it was selling, at least in concept. Maybe it’s just that fantasy doesn’t inspire much in me. The Early Access version of Endless Space 2 has been addictive for me. Everything is so subtle and well done. In this review there was, sadly, no mention of the probe system, which was maybe my favorite mechanic in the game. The exploration in this game is stupendous while being, at the same time, extremely simple. It is a symbol of everything Amplitude got right. Can’t wait to get into the full game this evening, with victory conditions that actually work and (hopefully) an AI that doesn’t just sit there. I am curious what others think of the multiplayer; I’ve never tried the feature on a 4x and I’m a bit intimidated. How does it even work?

  12. Asokn says:

    AI that just sits there is exactly my concern as I found the AI in Endress Legend to be much to passive. Does anyone have any other thoughts on the AI for this game?

  13. aircool says:

    Well, if it’s as good again as Endless Legends was over Endless Space than this is my next game to buy!

    Also, in Endless Legend, did anyone else just want to punch the Roving Clans guy? He was a right smug bastard and totally untrustworthy unless he got locked off early in the game.

  14. Benkyo says:

    Automated combat must have been a very deliberate choice, and it’s the right one!

    The computer opponents being terrible at combat is the main flaw of so many 4x games. Optional use of automated combat sounds like the best compromise, but in any game where the option is given I find myself being forced to play battles out because I know I can achieve the best results by doing to. Non-optional automation is the only way to ensure a level playing field, and give the computer a chance of pulling off military aggression.

    The time saving is a bonus too.

    • Someoldguy says:

      There are so many things you could automate in a 4x game. The planetary management. The colonisation. The exploration. The ship construction. The trade route management. The AI can be pretty rubbish at all those too, and in many modern games automating those is an option, but it’s not normally mandatory.

      Lets face it, in many games the AI are intentionally designed to be flawed in some ways because very few players relish being beaten hollow. In others admittedly the AI is just bad and needs to be propped up by magic resource supplements and galactic omniscience so they know where the player is strong and where they are weak without any need to reconnoitre.

      For a lot of people the culmination of all the dull micromanagement of the empire is the point where its shiny spaceships actually have to defend it from destruction or set off to destroy the enemy. That’s where our interest lies. Of course that means a bit more of the developers attention should be on the AI there to make it a credible opponent. If that aspect is automated, it often just becomes a spreadsheet exercise of accumulating enough industrial output and r&d to produce a winning fleet. If that’s the way people want to play that’s fine, but it shouldn’t be mandatory.

      • barelyhomosapien says:

        If you think the empire building aspect is”dull micromanagement” then that’s fine man, you be you.

        But many MANY people enjoy the empire building/exploration min/maxing aspect a lot more than war and combat, which, in games where it’s not automated, is an utter time sink that grinds the pacing of a game to a halt.

        There are already plenty of 4X’s that cut down on the empire building to focus on the combat, I’m glad that ES2 goes in a different direction.

        • Someoldguy says:

          I think I pointed out that optional automation of all those systems is a good thing. Only mandatory automation is bad. I love micromanaging most aspects of my empires in Stellaris, to the point where each game takes far too long to finish, really. I refuse to hand planets over to the governors until I’ve set them up “right”.

  15. Eightball says:

    Endless Space makes me wish Sword of the Stars 2 wasn’t hot garbage.

  16. Kohlrabi says:

    The reduced complexity is a boon for multiplayer games, where you don’t want to wait several minutes until two of your opponents have finished a tactically simple, but tedious, minigame, every time a battle ensues. This is a huge step forward compared to ES1 and EL.
    I have had another problem with 4x games and Endless games in the past, though. Fraser, can you elaborate whether they kept their simultaneous movements system? The problem with that system in 4x games is that the aggression can be controlled by the player who clicks faster. This has been a problem in Civ games and Endless games, and we have house-ruled this by mandating that war declarations have to be done at the end of the turn of all players. Newer Civ games go into turn-based mode then, which solves the problem (except for new parties entering the fray). With ES we manually did a turn-based mode where we tracked the movement order ourselves.

    So, so far I have not played a 4x title where we can solve this problem without house-rules, though EL was an improvement over ES by allowing the combatants to pull in reserve troops from a certain radius around the battle site. Still, I’d be very much interested how Amplitude has tried to solve the issue of simultaneous moves and battles in ES2.

  17. Erithtotl says:

    Endless Legend is a cool game but I seem to remember them having a lot of problems with bad and passive AI. I’ve seen the same with Galactic Civ 3. Hopefully not the case here.

  18. Hyena Grin says:

    I’ve always liked the Endless games for being just so, so expertly crafted. Every time they put a new game out I think ‘UI can’t possibly get better than this, can it?’ And then they knock it out of the park again – ES2’s UI is exceptional, and beautifully integrated with the gameplay itself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; their UI designers need to win awards.

    I have felt like a few of their games have suffered from not having a great late-mid-to-end game. Endless Legend in particular feels awesome as you are spreading your empire but once things kinda heat up, they sputtered a bit. I remember playing as the Cravens and even finding endless conquest and taking over the world not feeling particularly epic.

    I can’t say ES2 has had that problem for me – so far at least – though it does suffer a bit from it being relatively trivial to gain increasing momentum. It’s really, really easy to make sure that all of your systems are dust-positive, for example. Time will tell, but I suspect fairly strongly that it’s never going to become as complex to play (well) as a game like Distant Worlds. Which, hey, maybe is a design decision.

    Anyway, long story short, ES2 kinda rules.

  19. racccoon says:

    The first endless space sits in Steam library like a load of others do in the pc game monopolizer tool. I used it briefly finding it rather mundane & boring. I wouldn’t want to seek another refund if its a fail, but this game ES2 does not seem the case from the videos seen. I would much prefer to play a DEMO of this first.

  20. bsones says:

    Regarding being attacked by the Vodyani while in a state of cold war: The ability to attack other players while in a state of cold war is the “pinned” law of the Religious political faction. Since the Vodyani are religious zealots, they probably have that law active much of the time.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>